Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash

Travel in Your Backyard

This week was busy with work, yes. And also with friends visiting. When someone special shows up in Abruzzo we go to Rosy’s table. She’s there ready to welcome us with open arms and plates and plates of handmade pasta.

This is not only what she does for business, but it’s also who she is. Man, am I lucky or what?

I drove to a nearby town today with some friends of mine, Americans, who were looking to trace their Italian roots. We rented a car and drove up in the mountains to a small town perched on a high rock. One main road, with a coffee bar, and the Municipal building.

We went in armed with a rough idea of birth and marriage dates. The clerk, Irene,  couldn’t have been more kind. Pulling out books with crumbling spines smelling of a library I remember from my childhood, emblazoned with 1886 on the front. Carefully written lines in elegant script. The same last names over and over again with a rotating variety of Antonio, Maria, Lucia, or a Stefano thrown in.

We left the office having brushed up against another era. Emerging from the Municipale, blinking against the bright sun and walking to the bar for a mid-day coffee. The streets immaculate. The walls, some with crumbling facades but shiny in another way. Flowers on upper terrazzo’s, rose colored walls with a big heavy wooden door here and there.

This is the reason I travel. In this case it was to a place only 45 minutes from where I live in Italy. But the essence is the same.

A new place. Seeing and meeting new people. Exchanging a buongiorno! Sipping a coffee. Taking pictures down narrow Italian streets situated high on a hill top. The air sweet with a new season around the corner. Church bells toll mid day stopping me mid step as I paused to listen. I left feeling curious and invigorated.

This big feeling all from a small little town perched on a rock a 45 minute drive from home.